Bare Snow: Stripping the Sheets


I clung to the carpet with my face pressed against the ground, wriggling beneath the bed so that I was completely out of sight.

Miranda and Mr. Cussold meandered into the room. They shuffled and smooched and whispered in hushed voices like two high school kids that had found the parent’s bedroom at the popular kid’s party. Despite their sneaky-like behavior, the door slammed behind them as loudly as when they first entered.

They collapsed onto the bed. From my tunneled view, it appeared that he was on bottom and she was on top. Their feet wriggled together, high heels awkwardly hanging over the man’s Dolce and Gabbana dress shoes. He clearly had some money.

“What is that smell?” I heard her say faintly.

I held my breath. My first thought was that they smelled the alcohol on me. The aromatic scent of whiskey was not one that was easily concealed.

There were sounds of kisses and sucking, and heavy breath, as Mr. Cussold responded, “I don’t know. Broder has always been a dirty bastard. Probably doesn’t clean his sheets.”

I smiled. I nearly had forgotten about the whiz I had just taken upon the bedding above. Regardless, this Mr. Cussold seemed to have a good taste of people. It was too bad that he was a killer. We could have been good friends.

“It smells like urine,” the blonde woman hissed in disgust.

“Ridiculous! I don’t like the jackass, but I don’t think one of the richest men in Los Angeles wets his bed,” the tone of irritation was clear. The sounds of kissing continued as the man clearly buried his face in some crevice of the woman. The muffled smacking of his lips indicated it was probably the neck. Yeah, it was most likely the neck. He continued to try to talk, “Come now.  We need to –

I covered my mouth as I heard Mr. Cussold begin gurgling and spatting like he was giving a blowjob to a well-hung porn star. His legs writhed and tensed until his feet finally hung limp towards the ground.  I nearly pulled myself out from underneath the sheets to see what had just happened to cut off the man. My urine could not smell that terrible. I was nearly offended!

I was stopped by two red heels balancing themselves on the floor. I stared at the beautiful ankles of the blond bombshell, frozen in confusion.

She whispered something softly that I could not understand. Then, the point of the strapped shoe angled towards the door and Miranda left the room. This time the latch clicked softly.

I laid there for several seconds, wondering if Mr. Cussold was going to follow. When his legs didn’t budge, I finally realized something was wrong.

By the time I had scooted out from beneath the bed, I had already guessed what had happened. Yet, Mr. Cussold’s strained face with bloody slit across his throat was completely unexpected. He was a younger man with dark hair, bushy eyebrows, a shaven face, and extremely wide blue eyes. Also, his blood was a lake across the bed, staining the expensive sheets of Davin Broder.

“Jesus,” I muttered. I wasn’t a religious man. This wasn’t a prayer. This was an accepted societal expression of disbelief and bewilderment. I capitalized on it and said it again with derogatory emphasis, “Jesus fuck.”

If there was a God, he did not have time to strike me down for my blasphemy. Miranda’s scream of feigned terror propelled me back away from the bed. She was calling the posse to my location! It was unlikely that she was aware that I was in the room, but her scream would likely rid her of all culpability of the homicide.

And here I was, looming like a killer over his victim. Here I was to take all responsibility for this murder without any suitable excuse.  Here I was watching Mr. Cussold drown in his own blood and my piss. I did the only thing that any drunken man could do in this situation.

I jumped out the window.


6 thoughts on “Bare Snow: Stripping the Sheets

  1. Interesting twist–some mysteries still left at the end, such as why the “whiz,” why the putative initial “killer” chose Broder’s room (or apt.), etc. Flash fiction isn’t my own forte, I tend to be long-winded. In the old days, what is called now “flash fiction” used to be referred to as the “short short story,” and I read a fair number of those as a young adult, but I never could just shut up when it came to writing my own, I always wanted to explain more about my characters. It seems, though, that you are cultivating this regularly. Any thoughts of putting together a themed book of them? Or how about a book of them centered around the same character, or a few of the same characters, in different fictions? I think that you could do that.

    • Bare Snow is actually set up as a themed book as flash fictions posted on the site. I have a tab where I have started collecting these stories. This is just the second installment that you have read. (So the first part of the story might give some more clarity.) I have had other suggest that I start doing that, so this is my first shot at having a running story on the site. Let me know if that helps out, Shadow!

      • Yes, I saw that you also had the words “Bare Snow” up under the picture and wondered if there might be other segments, but for some reason when I tried to access it, it wouldn’t give me an arrow-pointer cursor to click on, but just the “I-bar” thing, which doesn’t access anything. I’ll try again. You mentioned in your biog that you are a social worker. Have you ever read anything by She also is in counselling, I think she’s a psychologist or something, it’s been a while since I’ve read one of her posts (for the reason that she hasn’t posted now for about a year, I think she’s busy with a new job or something). But her posts are a very talented crime/suspense novel sequence which feature a counsellor as a character. Just mentioning her because I thought you might like to meet someone else who’s in your “day job” line of work.

      • I have not read anything of Emma’s before. I will definitely check it out. I was a therapist for some time before I became a trainer in social services. It sounds like a very interesting tale to have a counselor in a crime/suspense novel. It is theme I have read before, so I would be interested how her perspective changes the flow of her own writings.

  2. Question (which may be answered in the next segment): How did the woman slit the guys throat and not get sprayed with blood? Did I miss something in my reading of the story?

    Powerful writing, as always.

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